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HOLIDAY GUIDE

Ask and you shall receive

Strategic advice for getting what you really want

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As someone who, year after year, sends and receives Christmas gift wish lists among family members, I’ve come to understand the strategy behind getting what you really want. It’s true: There’s a way to present your wish list in a fashion that’s both engaging to your gift-giver and lands you with things you won’t want to re-gift next year. It’s simple, yet rewarding – for both parties, of course. (Wink!)

You always want to start out your list with the practical gift. Yes, sometimes these items appear boring, but you know they’re items you need. Plus, your gift-giver feels great knowing you’ll totally put the gift to good use. I happen to be a new homeowner, so I’ve been eyeing a few housewares for our new abode, like a metal cookbook holder ($29.99, bedbathandbeyond.com) for creating scrumptious meals in my kitchen and an Ahh-Aqua pool float two-seater lounger ($54.99, poolfloatsmart.com) to cruise around and enjoy a cold one in my pool.

Next on the list should be the gift you’d never buy yourself. It’s something you’ve always wanted, but you feel way too guilty spending the money because it’s so indulgent. This type of gift lets the gift-giver feel like they are really spoiling you. And let’s be honest, some of us work a ton (See: Holiday Guide listings, lovingly compiled by yours truly), so I am longing for some pampering, like a spa day package ($25 and up, spafinder.com). I’m talking mani/pedi, facial, body wrap, maybe throw in a hot stone massage, too. Liquor also does the trick, meaning I’d enjoy a Winestyles Taste Club wine membership (two bottles each month, discounts and more, $34.99/month, winestylesstore.com).

We now move on to the sentimental gift. These gifts are perfect for the emotional gift giver, the type who is looking to wow your head/heart with a personal touch. It’s typically a gift that creates a memory or an experience. Personally, as a newlywed, I’d like to have a first Christmas ornament engraved with our names ($14-$23, zazzle.com) to place on our tree. And you might have noticed that I have a new last name, so it’d be awesome to have a coat of arms and family crest plaque ($42.95, houseofnames.com) to hang in our home. (And all together we say, aaaaw!)

The last item on your list should be the gift you’ll never receive. You throw this in the hat knowing it’s way too expensive or too hard to find, but, ultimately, it makes your gift-giver appreciate how inexpensive and easy-to-find the other gifts are on the list (mind games, people!). In my case, there’s no way in hell I’ll get this gift, unless, of course, the apocalypse really does happen. But as a faithful college football fan, my ultimate gift this year would be a trip to the Superdome in New Orleans in January to watch the Florida State Seminoles win the 2012 BCS national championship. (Fact: More than 20 teams would have to fall off the face of the earth for the Seminoles to play in this game.) Like I said before, this one’s a long shot.

This is about the time your gift-giver starts feeling sorry for you and makes his or her way back up the list to find a better-suited gift. Score!

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